Fitzgerald Post-Trial Press Conference
The jury worked very long and hard and deliberated to find a verdict of guilty on four of five counts
The prosecutors behind me logged in a lot of hours on this case, and with that I'll take questions.
What is now clear, we knew that Mr. Libby had told a story. What is now public is that the FBI had learned that Russert did not and could not have told Libby the information regarding Mrs. Wilson. As prosecutors, we could not walk away from the fact that Libby was lying to federal investigators and the grand jury. Seems to me that no responsible prosecutor could walk away from that — the facts justify themselves.
The role of the Vice President? Any lie under oath is serious. We cannot tolerate perjury. The truth is what drives our judicial system. If someone tells a lie under oath, it is every prosecutor's duty to pursue that case. It is obviously a serious matter when a high level official does that under a national security investigation — it should never be tolerated.
Is there still information about the Vice President that you do not know? No one is above the law, no one gets less protection under the law. And we do not talk about someone who is not in the legal system in the case at bar. All we'll say is that Mr. Libby by lying and obstructing justice harmed the process.
Cloud over Vice President and over WH? Does it remain? Fitzgerald says that what he argued in court stands. Says he was responding to the defense argument, says he responded fairly and honestly — and that cloud was caused by Libby lying to the investigators and the grand jury. It was aggravated by Mr. Libby telling falsehoods.
Is your investigation over now? Fitzgerald says that he does not expect to file any further charges. If information comes to light or if new information comes forward that warrants further investigation, we will do that. The case is now inactive. We are going back to our day jobs.
Now discussing the independent counsel statue — different from independent prosecutor.
Bound by the laws of grand jury secrecy — not opening up our file drawers to write newspaper articles or books. If you want people to come in and tell the truth — if you tell them that the is grand jury secrecy, then we have to keep our word.
If we are required to retry the case, I will not be happy, obviously. We feel confident that the trial was a fair trial, and we think it was appropriate, and that the jury's verdict should stand. Not going to predict on what 3 judges not yet selected, will decide
Downward departure? If they wish to pursue any options, they can contact us — and we aren't going to comment on that, just as we don't comment on any other case.
Did you get worried when the verdict takes a while? Of course you do. All lawyers do.
CIPA hearings predicated on that Libby would testify and that Cheney might testify — can you tell us what you thought in terms of its impact on jury selection and on the case? There was extensive questioning during jury selection, yes. Lawyers make decisions as the trial goes forward, if the witness shows up, you try the case with them — if they don't, you move up to the next witness.
If the Vice President were passing on a reported rumor, and not an official channel, thatwould be different in terms of decisionmaking for the prosecutor? We tried to ascertain how this was done.
If Congress does something on this, we will do what is appropriate.
Do you believe this investigation changes the relationship with reporters? What Libby was doing was not whistleblowing — the reporters were a witness to a potential crime. There is a difference. By placing the information in this case behind reporters, there was no other way to proceed in this case but to talk with the reporters in question. (CHS notes: They cannot be used as shields for guilt or innocence of conduct, in other words.)
Trial evidence? The judge made a ruling that the case would not be tried based on Valerie Plame Wilson's status. her relationship with the CIA was classified — I have 100% confidence in this information.
If reporters were eyewitnesses to a potential crime — we could not have gotten to the bottom of this without some discussion with those reporters.